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The body is an inert mass, endowed with organs peculiarly adapted to every useful occupation, and when excited into vital action, these organs transmit to the nerves correspondent animation. Through the media of these nerves communicating with external objects, and a simultaneous operation upon the brain, ideas are derived from the senses, and from thence transmitted to, and lodged in, the brain.
The first ideas we receive, are derived mostly from the sense of touch. I wish it here to be distinctly understood, that all the ideas derived from the senses are located together in a particular part of the brain, and are denominated sensual or animal propensities, and are precisely of the same class of ideas which the inferior animals derive from the same source. And until the soul assumes its residence in the brain, and exerts its influence over that organ, the infant possesses no distinctive faculties of mind, superior to the brutes. These sensual ideas are clustered together in a part of the brain entirely distinct from that portion which is occupied by ideas arising from other sources.
The sensual ideas are the source of those appetites, desires, and affections, which contain all the germs of vice with which human nature is afflicted. From these roots emanate hatred, malice, rage, revenge, and all the kindred passions, which give origin to cruelty, ferocity, murder, and systematic warfare. But without these natural impulses, reason would be incompetent to provide for the preservation of the individual, and the continuance of the species.
The perversion of these appetites, so necessary for our preservation and happiness, gives rise to intemperance, and the various modifications of sensual indulgences. By thus prostituting his nobler and higher endowments to such sensual gratifications, man degrades the dignity of his nature, and sinks beneath the brutes. But when the soul commences its operation upon the brain, and extends and continually exerts its influence, all its congeries of organs partake of this new vitality, and the mind also assumes a new and more elevated VOL. XV.
existence, with all its faculties and propensities strongly impressed with the intellectual, moral, and religious influence which this new inhabitant exerts over the evil tendencies of its natural propensities. Man now becomes perfect and entire, with body, soul, and mind, and so continues to exist, as long as the soul continues its destined influence over the brain. But when this influence is suspended or destroyed, by disease or violence, the faculties of the mind become deranged, suspeuded, or cease to exist. This subject acquires additional illustration from recent discoveries in the science of phrenology. All who have acquired a competent knowledge of this science, uniformly concur in the opinion that all the intellectual, moral, and religious faculties which arise from the soul, are located in the anterior and superior portion of the brain. And that all the sensual and animal propensities, which arise from the senses, are located in the posterior and inferior portion of the same organ. According to the principles sustained in this system, the soul alone brings to the brain all the intellectual, moral, and religious faculties which it is known to possess. I trust therefore it will not be deemed arrogance in me to deduce, from these premises, the precise point of location where the soul assumes its actual and permanent residence. These deductions fully justify the opinion that the soul occupies only the superior and anterior portion of the brain, where these faculties are found to exist.
The relative position which the faculties of the soul and the animal propensities thus hold toward each other, is admirably arranged to carry on that systematic warfare, which is said by the apostle to be incessantly waged by the latter against the former; and is also strongly emblematical of their respective characters.
The animal propensities, low, grovelling, and deceptive, in perfect consonance with their prominent traits of character, occupy that inferior and posterior portion of the brain, by which they may be most effectually shielded, and under which they may conceal and prosecute most successfully their insidious assaults upon the soul. While the latter, from its elevated and dignified position, looks down upon its assailants with pity, shielded only from their assaults by the panoply of conscious reciitude.
From the preceding remarks, it will now be perceived that I sustain the position, that the intellectual, moral, and religious faculties exist primarily and exclusively in the soul; and that all the sensual or animal propensities arise entirely and exclusively from the body; hence the former are termed in Scripture 'spiritual,' and the latter "carnal.' In proportion, then, as volition brings the soul into close affinity with the brain, will the intellectual and moral faculties more or less predominate.
The soul does not, like the mind, acquire knowledge by experience and education, but comes to its habitation in the body replete with perfect intuitive knowledge, which it gradually communicates to the mind, as circumstances facilitating such communications may be more or less propitious. It may hence be easily inferred, that the soul constitutes that new source of ideas to which I have already alluded, and which will subsequently be explained.
By what process the soul acquires its ideas, and this perfect intui
tive knowledge, is a question which man in his corporeal existence can never answer nor comprehend. It can be understood only when we, disembodied, arrive in that spiritual kingdom, where soul meets soul, under the immediate dominion of the King, eternal, immortal, invisible.' Then shall we know as we are known, and be able to solve the questions which here receive no satisfactory reply.
However difficult it may be clearly to comprehend the preceding proposition, it may be more perfectly elucidated, if we are permitted to consider the soul to be an infinitesimal part of Deity; and I am not conscious of any very solid objections to the assumption of this ground. At the same time, I am aware that even the suggestion will be met with objections of the most solemn character, and perhaps with the asseverations of profanity. Such arguments I conceive to be more sophistical than solid, and better calculated to prolong an unprofitable controversy, than to produce conviction, or any decisive result. I shall therefore make no farther allusion to such objections, but merely add a few remarks in vindication of this course.
The universe is filled with the Spirit of God. No portion of it can for a moment be supposed to be destitute of his actual presence. When, therefore, God breathed into man, and he became a living soul, will it be said that this was a new creation, or a portion of that spirit which pervades the universe? We must also consider that spirit is only another word for breath; and that the sentence might very properly be rendered thus : God breathed into man his spirit; and he became a living soul.' This also designates the precise time when the soul is received into the body; for as with the breath of the Creator, his spirit was imparted to the first man, so we may conclusively infer that the soul is imparted to the infant with its first inspiration.
Another figurative allusion to the creation of man,' the rock from which he had been hewed,' fortifies the opinion that the soul is an emanation from his Creator. Sustained by these and other arguments that might be adduced, I shall assume the position that the soul is an infinitesimal part of Deity, without any reference to consequences that might be urged in its refutation: although I deem it perfectly immaterial to the issue of this theory, whether the soul be a new creation, or a part of Deity; as the power which creates, can, with equal facility, render it perfect in either case.
The ways of God are beyond our compreheusion, and to His wisdom do we submit the results, without attempting to reconcile them with the very limited views which we are permitted to take of his plans and operations. We can only say with David : We are fearfully and wonderfully made !'
I assume only what appears to be the clear and obvious construction of the Bible, as the basis of the theory which I have endeavored to sustain. Beyond this I cannot presume to go. I cannot enter the confines of fancy, and adopt the interminable productions and absurd hypotheses of creative imaginations. Fortunate would it have been for the cause of science, had the wisdom of preceding ages erected its structures upon the same infallible and enduring basis.
I therefore conclude that we are amply sustained, by the evidence already adduced, in ascribing to the soul perfect intuitive knowledge,
derived immediately from the Deity, together with all its intellectual ideas, inherent seeds of virtue, morality, and religion. Why, then, it may be inquired, does not the mind of the infant become perfect in knowledge the moment the soul takes its residence in the brain? I trust the following remarks will be a satisfactory reply to this inquiry.
The Creator has so constituted man, that he must be progressive in all his mental and corporeal developments, and in all their approaches to maturity. The brain of the infant is so extremely delicate in its structure, as to be incompetent to sustain the sudden and full operation of the perfect and mature soul. But few of its organs are at first sufficiently developed, to receive impressions. The faculties of the mind, therefore, which are first manifested, are of the most simple character; and as the organs acquire additional energy and strength, the other more mature and complex faculties become successively developed, so as ultimately to receive the full operation and impressions of the soul.
In perfect accordance with this explanation, the history of Christ does not furnish us with any satisfactory evidence that he manifested, while an infant, any powers of intellect far exceeding the puerilities of a child. This explanation may be more clearly elucidated by a reference to the first man. The body of Adam, in all its parts and organs, was perfect and mature, when his soul was received from his Creator. Consequently his knowledge was not progressively acquired. But being perfect and mature in body, the soul came at once in perfect contact with all those organs of the brain which it was destined to occupy, and to which it instantly communicated intellectual and moral faculties, in their highest state of perfection. Man was, then, made perfect in body, perfect in soul, perfect in mind, and perfect in holiness; literally resembling the image of his Creator, in all his moral and constituent parts.
If any are disposed to controvert this position, and to affirm that the soul is destitute of intelligence, of intellectual and moral faculties, until it has effected an intimate union with those organs of the brain where those faculties are developed, a simple reference to the most conclusive testimony every where exhibited in the Bible, the only authority in existence on this point, of the intelligence manifested by angelic and other disembodied spirits, in their communications to man, and with each other, is amply sufficient to place this question forever at rest.
So frequently repeated is this evidence, and so well known to every believer in divine revelation, that a reference to particular instances would be a useless occupation of time.
I may here observe, that all information and facts relating to the world of spirits, derived from any source counter to divine revelation, must rest upon a false basis. Where is the man that has lived in that spiritual world, and returned to instruct corporeal beings in the nature, character, and faculties of the souls which dwell there? But there is One, who not only dwells there, but rules as its absolute sovereign, over that spiritual region, who has condescended to instruct man in the mysteries of that portion of his empire, which are necessary for his happiness. Is it not, then, a species of insanity to abandon this only
source of truth, and to resort to the theories of unaided reason, as manifested in the writings of Aristotle and Plato ? Yot with this light brilliantly illuminating their path, ever since the commencement of the Christian era, have philosophers sought the light of truth among
the dark recesses of heathen philosophy. Error has thus been based on error, until the whole superstructure exhibits, in a beautiful exterior, specimens of refined taste and exquisite art, but without that material necessary to constitute symmetry, strength, and duration.
'If the soul be the fountain from which the mind derives all its streams of intellectual and moral science, the opinions advocated by Locke and others, that all ideas originate from sensation and reflection, must be unfounded. What possible use can metaphysicians ascribe to the soul, the only intellectual part of man? Can it for a moment be admitted, that although perfect, it acquires all its ideas from its union with an inert, inanimate body? The manner in which ideas originate from the senses has already been explained ; but how ideas of morality and religion can, by any mode or power of reflection, be generated from the combined operation of the five senses, is to me an obscure mystery. Neither can I understand how ideas arising entirely from sensation, can ever arrive at those sublime intellectual attainments, which unfold the laws of creation, embrace the universe, scan the heavens, penetrate the world of spirits, and ascend to a knowledge of that great supreme of all spirits, the omnipotent, the omniscient God.
Although this opinion has been advocated, and confidently affirmed, by that profound philosopher, John Locke, it is evidently at variance with correct observation and strong facts. Ideas arising entirely and exclusively from the senses, can never, by any human power, be extended beyond the objects of sense. The sense of touch can generate no other ideas than those which arise from those external objects, which come in contact with that sense.
Such ideas may, by comparison or reflection, ascertain the various qualities of the objects to which this sense has been applied, and which come within its powers of investigation, and may
compare these with ideas derived froin the other senses. But there their powers end. The sense of smelling may ascertain the peculiar odors of all bodies, and may compare the ideas arising from that source with each other, and also with those arising from the other four senses. But there its faculties also terminate. The faculties and operations of all the other senses are subjected to the same laws, and restricted to the same limits.
But from which of the senses can any moral or religious ideas originate? Or can any such results be generated by the combined action of all the ideas of sensation, with their very limited powers reflection, in grand council convened ? No; ages might roll away, in a vain search for knowledge so infinitely exceeding their highest conceptions! The soul must come to impart to the mind the sources from which all this knowledge is derived. And without this knowledge, man is not superior to the brutes. He sees, feels, hears, smells, and tastes, in common with them; and all his reasoning powers are, like theirs, limited to the proper objects which are designed to gratify those senses, and to preserve life. This is the mode of reasoning